TORONTO, Ont. — The Canadian International AutoShow and the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame announced today a working relationship that, among other things, will see the Hall’s Induction ceremony become an annual part of the AutoShow.
In making the announcement, Jason Campbell, General Manager of the AutoShow, and Dr. Hugh Scully, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hall of Fame, said a new Media Category of the Hall is being created and 10 prominent Canadian journalists will be inducted.
“The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame is a great national institution and the Canadian International AutoShow is delighted we have reached agreement on a partnership that will be beneficial to both,” said Campbell.
Added Scully: “The Board of Directors wishes to extend its thanks to the AutoShow and the CIAS board for agreeing to this arrangement that can only help to increase the profile of the Hall.”
The journalists, who will be formally inducted at a later date, will be honoured Wednesday, February 13, at the annual Art and the Automobile black-tie dinner, which is held on the eve of the AutoShow’s Media Preview Day and two days before the show is opened to the public. The Art and the Automobile exhibit at the AutoShow is sponsored by the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance to salute collectors of the classic cars that are on display.
Special honoured guests will include Mario Andretti, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969, 50 years ago, the F1 World Championship in 1978 and is an Honoured Member of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in the International Category. Other celebrities expected to attend the dinner include Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson — a racer himself — who is contributing a major 10-car feature display at the AutoShow this year, and the senior management of the Canadian-owned Racing Point F1 Team in the 2019 World Championship, including primary shareholder Lawrence Stroll and the Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer.
Andretti will be interviewed by Master of Ceremonies Townsend Bell, an Indy 500 and sports-car racing veteran who announces on IndyCar broadcasts for NBC, following which he will help Scully introduce the inductees, who include: the late Len Coates, Gerald Donaldson, Dave Franks, the late Graham Jones, Pierre Lecours, Dean McNulty, Tim Miller, Jeff Pappone, Dan Proudfoot and Erik Tomas.
“The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame is pleased to create a new category for media to recognize the major contribution print, radio, television and now internet journalists and photographers make to the furthering of motorsport in Canada,” said Scully. “The 10 media members selected have hundreds of years combined experience covering motorsport and span the different disciplines of journalism. I look forward to recognizing more journalists in induction ceremonies to come.”
The new inductees join long-time motorsport journalist Norris McDonald, who was inducted in 2013 as a builder of the sport in Canada. McDonald, who has also been inducted into the Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway Hall of Fame, serves as host of CMHF induction galas.
Here are the journalists being honoured:
Len Coates’ journalism career started in the mid-1960s as a sports copy editor at the Toronto Telegram and he quickly morphed into Canada's first motorsport reporter after a few years as an amateur racer and editor of Canada Track & Traffic. Later, as the Toronto Star's Wheels racing columnist – he was eventually self-syndicated - he doubled down as Mosport Park media relations guru when F1 and Can-Am races were held there. Len's PR and communications talents helped to promote the Molson Indy Toronto in the early years. He wrote CHALLENGE, a book about the early days of Canadian road racing, was founding president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and helped launch the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. With the help of his great friend and mentor, Rod Campbell, Len’s legacy is celebrated each year with the awarding of annual journalism bursaries at Toronto’s Ryerson University.
Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame Media Category inductee Len Coates.
A globally recognized expert on Formula One, Gerald Donaldson has covered hundreds of grands prix for many international publications, including the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, as well as commentating for the CBC, CTV and TSN networks. He has written many books on the sport. His acclaimed biographies of Juan Manuel Fangio, James Hunt and Gilles Villeneuve are considered the definitive studies of the three F1 heroes. In recognition of his major contribution to the sport, Donaldson was recently inducted into the F1 Paddock Hall of Fame and he is one of a handful of Formula One journalists to be bestowed a lifetime Formula One Honorary Media pass from the sport's governing body, the Fédération International de L'Automobile.
For more than half a century, Dave Franks has photographed racers and racing, particularly at the Canadian grassroots level. The best friend of the late “Daytona Don” Biederman, Franks' work has been published in racing newspapers like Area Auto Racing News, Speedway Scene and National Speed Sport News, magazines like Inside Track Motorsport News, and speedway programs throughout North America. Franks raced stock cars himself for two years - and was a 10-consecutive-years Ontario snowmobile racing champion - before deciding to concentrate on racing photography. Without Dave Franks, many of the photographs of Canadian racing, particularly in the early days, would never have been taken.
The late Graham Jones was press officer for the Minardi F1, BAR and Tyrrell F1 teams. A graduate of the University of Victoria, B.C., he was a club-level competitor who moved to England to combine a passion for motorsport and writing. He was assistant editor of Cars and Car Conversions magazine before moving to Autocar in 1982, where he was road test editor and technical editor. Recruited by Wheels section editor Dennis Morgan, Graham became motorsport writer and columnist for the Toronto Star in 1988. For Graham, it was a personal crusade to raise the profile of motorsports in Canada and, particularly, in Ontario. Two years later, he returned to the U.K. and moved into automotive PR. But he returned to journalism and, when he passed in 2011, he was editor of Racecar Engineering magazine.
Pierre Lecours covered motorsport for Le Journal de Montreal for more than 30 years and was one of the key players to see Gilles Villeneuve rise to fame. Lecours introduced Villeneuve to Gaston Parent who fronted the money for Villeneuve's entry into the 1976 Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières that launched his Formula One career. He also wrote Gilles and Jacques, the Villeneuves and Me, which follows the careers of both Formula One drivers. Legend has it that Lecours is the last journalist to be invited onto a Formula One podium by a race winner (Gilles Villeneuve).
For almost two decades, Dean McNulty covered motorsport at every level in Canada for the Sun Media chain and later Postmedia. Although known for his impressive coverage of the top tier NASCAR Series, McNulty was comfortable reporting on everything from dirt speedways like Ohsweken to the Formula One Grand Prix at Montreal. There's no doubt that several young racing drivers in Canada thank McNulty for helping further their careers. When he retired, Postmedia dropped racing coverage, making Dean McNulty the last, full-time, national Canadian newspaper reporter on the motorsport beat.
Tim Miller has been the motorsport reporter and columnist for the Hamilton Spectator, writing mostly about local drivers and racing, for the past 35 years. He left general newspaper reporting to focus on motorsport, starting with Wheelspin News in the late 1970s. Over his career, Miller has written on most aspects of the sport, from action at the local bullrings to major national and international series, including the American Le Mans Series, IndyCar and Formula One. He has become one of the most proficient writers in Canada on drag racing. He has also written several books on racing and has branched into racing and track PR on occasion, primarily in the area of drag racing. Miller is a strong supporter and promoter of young race drivers, believing youth is the future of the sport. He was curator of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame museum and he prepares and writes the biographies for its induction videos.
Jeff Pappone has written about motorsport in Canada for the past two decades, beginning with the Montreal Gazette and other CanWest newspapers. He was the motorsport reporter and columnist for the Globe and Mail for 16 years before becoming the Formula One correspondent for Inside Track Motorsport News. Pappone is also a columnist for IndyCar.com. While he covered mostly top tier series for the Globe and Mail, Pappone also made a point to write about young up-and-coming Canadian racers long before they made the big leagues. He is a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.
Dan Proudfoot holds the distinction of becoming the first motorsport beat reporter for the Globe and Mail in the early 1970s where he doubled as the hockey writer. He also wrote for the Hamilton Spectator, Toronto Telegram and UPI. A story in Toronto Life magazine on attending his first racing school earned him an early award. Proudfoot later joined the Toronto Sun as motorsport reporter and columnist but took early retirement following the death of his brother, Jim. He continues to write on automotive subjects for the Globe and Mail. Dan is hugely respected in the racing community, so much so that when Paul Tracy was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, he asked that Dan do the honours.
The host and producer of The Raceline Radio Network, Canada’s national radio motorsport authority, Erik Tomas has been covering motorsport for more than a quarter of a century. Raceline Radio features the stars of the sport globally, with special emphasis on Canadian talent and achievement. Raceline Radio is heard coast to coast in Canada, year round, on 15 major and medium market radio stations, and Erik remains the nation’s only radio reporter dedicated solely to motorsport. Tomas has been the voice of Merrittville and Ransomville Speedways in Niagara and Western N.Y. and has anchored TV coverage of regional dirt and asphalt track events on American and Canadian television, along with pit work for IndyCar races for ESPN and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Erik is also the voice of Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame induction gala videos.
Note: The 2019 Canadian International AutoShow, presented by The Toronto Star and wheels.ca, takes place February 15th to 24th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. For tickets and show information, please visit autoshow.ca.
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